From the end of this month, anyone travelling to Lisbon will get a chance to try a new tool helping them get to know the Portuguese capital’s history, culture and heritage.
The city will finally be joining the 22 destinations already featured in Just in Time Tourist apps (JiTT.travel). The official launch of the Lisbon guide will take place at the Tourism Day event, on November 24th, but it’s not the only news from the acclaimed Portuguese app’s developers: before the end of this month, they will also be launching the JiTT.me platform, which will allow guides developed by other companies or authors to be added.
As the app was created in Portugal, Lisbon’s absence from JiTT.travel’s roster of cities was noticed. “We always get asked about that” said Rui Castro, deputy CEO at iClio, the company which designed the app, during a chat with Smart Cities at the Smart City Expo World Congress (SCEWC). He went on to explain that as the app is a global product, and based on the indicators their business plan looked at, it “didn’t make sense” to include any Portuguese city. “What we did was look at the 20 biggest cities in terms of the flow of tourists, crossed that with other information, such as technology penetration, and that helped us come up with a top 20. And clearly there wasn’t any Portuguese city in that ranking.” he clarifies.
With a storytelling approach, the app comes up with a tour guide featuring culture, history and heritage, tailored to the time the tourist/user has available. To Castro, this “time value” has been one of the main reasons behind their success.
So far, all of JiTT’s content has been generated by iClio itself, while with this new format, it will be possible to include content from other entities (in Lisbon’s case, the Portuguese Tourist Board and Vila Galé Hotel group have already come onboard), bloggers, or even occasional travellers “who want to create their own guide and share it with friends”.
“Until now, it [the technology] only served content produced by iClio, but very soon we will open it up to other content producers” revealed Castro. “JiTT will be presenting the JiTT user-generated content platform, JiTT.me. Anyone can make their own JiTT.” he explained.
Through the new platform, which at the moment is on an invite-only basis, every guide featured on the JiTT.travel app will produce real-time analytic reports, measuring users’ every move on the streets and within the app. “It’ll be an important decision-making support tool for people managing tourist destinations and brands or companies directly or indirectly involved with the dynamics of tourism” he added.
Lately iClio has been taking part in the smart cities fair, the SCEWC, in Barcelona, following an invitation from the UK embassy, as one of the companies “on London investors UK TI’s radar” according to Castro. The Portuguese company counts Portugal Ventures and Busy Angels among its investors, and back in May was singled out by the World Tourism Organization as one of the best up-and-coming mobile technologies improving tourism experiences.